Wednesday, 24 April 2024

President Biden Fiscal Year 2025 Budget proposes critical investments in veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors

On Monday, the Biden-Harris Administration released the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2025.

This budget proposes critical resources to help VA continue providing more care and more benefits to more veterans than ever before.

President Biden has made supporting veterans a key pillar of his Unity Agenda. During the Biden-Harris administration, VA has implemented the historic PACT Act, which expanded VA health care and benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving; permanently housed more than 40,000 veterans two years in a row; expanded life-saving support for veterans at-risk of suicide; delivered an all-time yearly record number of health care appointments to veterans; and much more.

This Budget demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued focus on ensuring veterans have timely access to world-class care and benefits. The total fiscal year 2025 request for VA is $369.3 billion, a $33 billion (+10%) increase above the fiscal year 2024 Budget estimate level.

This includes a discretionary request of $134.0 billion. The fiscal year 2025 mandatory funding request is $235.3 billion, which includes $24.5 billion from the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund (TEF), for a total increase of $41.8 billion (21.6%) above fiscal year 2024.

“Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors deserve the very best health care and benefits that this country has to offer — and President Biden’s proposed budget will help us deliver exactly that,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “With these investments, we at VA can continue delivering more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before in our nation’s history.”

The budget makes critical, targeted investments in supporting Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. At VA, the Budget will:

Expand health care and benefits for Veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving our country.

The PACT Act, which President Biden signed into law in 2022, is the most significant expansion of VA healthcare and benefits for veterans in generations – helping millions of veterans.

As part of the PACT Act, Congress authorized the TEF to invest in the delivery of health care associated with exposure to environmental hazards and any expenses incident to the delivery of health care and benefits associated with exposure to environmental hazards in the military.

The budget continues this commitment and includes $24.5 billion for the TEF in fiscal year 2025.

Support the delivery of health care for veterans across America: At a time when VA is expanding access to health care for millions of veterans and delivering record numbers of appointments, we are making sure that Veterans have access to world-class health care whenever and wherever they need it. This budget invests $112.6 billion in discretionary medical care funding in fiscal year 2025.

In addition to fully funding inpatient, outpatient, mental health, and long-term care services, the budget supports programs that enhance VA healthcare quality and delivery, including a $2 billion investment for non-recurring maintenance to improve medical facility infrastructure, and continued efforts to address the opioid and drug overdose epidemic.

This funding is critical because veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than non-enrolled veterans, and VA hospitals have dramatically outperformed non-VA hospitals in overall quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings.

Additionally, VA health care is often more affordable than non-VA health care for Veterans.
Prioritize mental health care and suicide prevention for Veterans. The budget invests $135 million in VA research programs — along with $17 billion within the VA Medical Care program — to increase access to quality mental health care and lower the cost of mental health services for veterans, with the goal of helping veterans take charge of their treatment and live full, meaningful lives.

In addition, the budget provides $583 million to further advance the Administration’s Veteran suicide prevention initiatives, including continued support of the 988 Veterans Crisis Line (Dial 988, press 1) and additional support for VA’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Support health care for women veterans. The budget invests $13.7 billion for women veterans’ healthcare, including $1.1 billion towards women’s gender-specific care. More women are choosing VA healthcare than ever before, with women accounting for over 30 percent of the increase in enrolled Veterans over the past five years. Investments support comprehensive specialty medical and surgical services for women veterans, improving maternal health outcomes, and more.

Bolster efforts to end veteran homelessness. VA and the Biden-Harris administration believe that every veteran should have permanent, safe, and sustainable housing with access to healthcare and other supportive services, and VA has permanently housed more than 40,000 homeless veterans each of the past two years.

The budget invests $3.2 billion to help VA’s efforts to end veteran homelessness and prevent Veterans from becoming homeless in the future. The budget also includes funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to expand housing vouchers to more veterans in need.

Invest in claims processing and benefits delivery for veterans. The budget provides $4 billion to the Veterans Benefits Administration to support the continued timely processing of claims and delivery of benefits to Veterans. This is critical at a time when Veterans are applying for benefits at record rates and VA is delivering benefits at record rates; in FY 2023 alone, VA completed more than 1.9 million disability compensation and pension claims — an all-time record that surpassed the previous record by 15.9% — and VA is continuing this record-breaking trend. .

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